Tipping off an incredible 119 games across the State Basketball Centre and Dandenong Stadium, the best and brightest of Australia’s school-age talent descended on Victoria to battle it out for the Australian Schools Championships.
Making an immediate impact in their return to Victoria, Lake Ginninderra College duo Agnes Emma-Nnopu and Sara-Rose Smith excelled en route to a 92-88 Championship Women’s win over Box Hill Senior Secondary College. Battling a few familiar faces from their time in the Victorian colours, Emma-Nnopu (36 points, 16 rebounds and six steals) and Smith (25 points, 10 rebounds) notched incredible double-doubles and powered through a tense overtime to take the points. Box Hill was admirably led by a cavalcade of former Vic Metro and Vic Country representatives as Georgia Baldwin (18 points), Melbourne Boomers-listed Paige Price (18 points, eight rebounds) and Leia Hanafin (14 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists) shone in the narrow loss.
Lake Ginninderra’s strong start was halted in the afternoon by a rampaging Hillcrest Knights in a 62-67 loss. Showcasing the evenness of the competition, Hillcrest’s Shorna Preston (27 points, 11 rebounds) and Lily Rotunno (17 points) starred for the Knights while Sara-Rose Smith (22 points, 13 rebounds) and Agnes Emma-Nnopu (14 points, 13 rebounds) were strong again for Lake G.
St Luke’s was far too strong for Don College, taking a 98-49 triumph on the back of incredible work from Catriona Henderson (24 points, 11 rebounds) and Elles Van Der Maas (19 points), nine rebounds, six assists). Shelby Rayner (30 points, nine rebounds) was magnificent for Don College in the defeat.
Hillcrest was no match for Immanuel College as Australian representatives Gabriella Vidmar (27 points) and Isabella Stratford (24 points) proved too much to handle. Queensland stars Lily Rotunno (21 points) and Shorna Preston (21 points) led the way for Hillcrest.
Immanuel continued its roaring start to the School Championships with an 81-62 win over Willetton on Monday afternoon. Sharing the workload, Gabriella Vidmar (17 points), Amy Cotton (15 points, 14 rebounds) and Isabella Stratford (13 points) worked well in tandem to see off Willetton, who was led by captain Emily Counsel (19 points, seven rebounds).
In the Championship Men, Lake Ginninderra College flexed its might early with an 88-67 win over Trinity College. Blake Jones (36 points, 16 rebounds) compiled an impressive highlight reel early while Isaac Atuer (17 points, 10 rebounds) and Ayual Garang (15 points, 11 rebounds) and Magok Manyang (12 points, 10 rebounds) put on a show for the Trinity boys.
Box Hill Senior Secondary College’s boys started their campaign in the best fashion, taking a 91-67 win over Willeton Senior High School. With options up and down the bench, former School Championships winning coach Kevin Goorjian had plenty to pick from as Harrison Bowater (17 points) and Roosevelt Williams (16 points, six rebounds) led from the front. For Willeton, Thomas Musumeci (16 points, seven rebounds) commenced his championship week in fine form.
Sydney Boys High School swept past Ignatius Park with a 98-76 victory led by Eoin Fitzgerald (25 points, 12 rebounds), while Ignatius Park was led by Rory Hawke (22 points, 10 rebounds).
St Ignatius College Riverview took out a 99-81 win over Westfield with Archer Woodhill (28 points, 22 rebounds) taking down a monster double-double while Westfield’s Milos Djurovic (32 points) was equally as potent.
In results from the younger divisions, Newington College, Flinders College and Cheltenham Secondary College all tipped off their School Championships campaigns with a pair of Under-20 Men’s Division 1 wins.
St Paul’s Anglican Grammar led the way in Under-20 Women’s competition with a 102-30 win over Northpine Christian College as Vic Country trio Dallas Loughridge (30 points), Myah Healey (20 points) and Georgia Koopmans (15 points) excelled.
In the Under-17 Men’s Division 1 tournament, St Dominics eked out a 70-68 thriller over Rowville Secondary College as Caleb Fetui-Faamoe (23 points) stole the show. Rowville’s Ethan Taylor (24 points) was impressive as well in the defeat.
The Under-17 Women’s Division 1 battle between Haileybury and Rowville raged as Charlise Dunn (16 points) and Nyadiew Puoch (18 points) went toe-to-toe in a 45-72 win to Rowville.
Berwick College Blue has flown out of the blocks in the Under-15 Boys competition with a pair of wins over Rockingham SHS and Whitefriars College as Ethan Bolton (24 points) and Brian Vengesayi (23 points) led the side in those respective wins.
For stats and results for all games and LiveStats from the Championship Division, click here.